AN ENGINEER’S TOUR OF Valentine’s Day

It’s Cupid’s day to shine. But Valentine’s Day, like every other day, needs engineers to be successful. We’ll start with Cupid, more specifically with his weapon of choice: the bow and arrow, which humans (and cherubs) have been using for tens of thousands of years, has been called the first engineered tool.

But for many people, Cupid can be pretty unreliable. The National Retail Federation reports that cards are king for getting the message across, with 190 million greeting cards sold each year for Valentine’s Day. All those cards are another testament to the work of many engineers, from paper production to graphic design, printing and packaging. We even created some you can download and print, too.

Before you pop a bottle of champagne to toast your love, read up on what Chemical & Engineering News says about how those bubbles are engineered and ways to keep more of them in the right kind of glass.

Don’t forget the flowers. Estimates say about $2 billion worth of flowers are sold during Valentine’s week. Traditionally, red, long stemmed roses are the way to go to celebrate the day with your true love, but if you’ve got a less intense message in mind, here’s your guide to choosing the right bouquet. Some might appreciate the bio-tech efforts of the researchers trying to create a blue rose.

And if your day includes a jewelry gift of the most sparkling variety, you can appreciate the teams of people who helped gather those diamonds from the depths of the earth. From the mining process to the machines used to process the stones and tools for cutting and polishing, engineers help you bring that bling. (And industrial grade diamonds, too!)